Court allows transfer of Lynas defamation suit

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has allowed an application by SMSL Sdn Bhd and five others to transfer a defamation suit filed by Lynas Corporation Ltd against them to the Kuantan High Court to be heard.

High Court judge Justice John Louis O'Hara also dismissed an interim stay application by Lynas against the ruling.

"I need only to consider jurisdictional choice within Kuantan High Court and Kuala Lumpur High Court. Both High Courts are branches of the High Court of Malaya.

"As both high courts have jurisdiction in this matter, it is an issue which does not cause a problem as far as I am concerned," he ruled.

Justice O'Hara also held that it was for the Kuantan judge to give appropriate direction over the defendants' application for discovery of documents.

Yesterday, the defendants' lead counsel Datuk Bastian Pius Vendargon submitted that the defendants' witnesses and their solicitor of choice are from Kuantan.

Vendargon submitted that both high courts have civil jurisdiction to hear the suit.

Lynas lead counsel Rishwant Singh argued that the course of action arises where the libel publication was viewed.

"It is filed here as there were a number of visits from those who surf the Internet in the Klang Valley. There were 4,562 visitors. The project (Lynas Advanced Material Plant in Gebeng) may be in Kuantan but the article was uploaded and mostly viewed in Kuala Lumpur," he added.

The High Court had on July 26 rejected a move by Lynas Corporation Ltd and Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd to restrain SMSL Sdn Bhd and five others from publishing defamatory statements against them.

In his July ruling, Justice O'Hara held that he found public interest relevant and agreed with the defendants that the people had the right and interest to know about the matter.

The proceedings are in respect of an alleged defamatory statement contained in an article dated March 22 titled "Civil Society Organisations joint statement on Lynas issue: SMSL & Malaysian NGOs statement against Lynas".

The statements in the article relate to the construction of the Lynas plant in Gebeng.

Lynas Corporation Ltd and Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd have named the company SMSL, its two directors Tan Bun Teet and Lim Sow Teow, as well as its three volunteers Hang Chong Leung, Lee Chow Fong and Ismail Abu Bakar as defendants in the defamation suit.

Source: The Star, Page: 24
Date: Thursday, 27 September 2012

No comments:

Post a Comment